Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey will be hoping to bounce back from two away defeats when they host Bangor at Ferney Park this Saturday.

Back to back 2-1 defeats have seen the Ducks slip down the table, albeit there is only five games played, and McConkey is keen to get back to winning ways at home having won their last two league outings at Ferney Park.

He is though expecting a stern test against Lee Feeney’s Bangor outfit.

“They have come up and are fresh and had a great derby win against Ards,” said McConkey. “They are a team who are littered with ex-Irish League players and they seem to be embracing the new league so it is going to be another very difficult game for us.”

The Mallards boss is hopeful though that home advantage will be telling.

“We always fancy ourselves at Ferney Park because we know the way we want to play and how well the pitch suits that. It is the other venues we need to be more resolute and sometimes we have tried to change our game to suit those matches.

“In the five matches so far I haven’t seen us lie down, we’ve kept in the games and we have battled hard, but we enjoy the open spaces of Ferney and we have to look forward to Saturday and capitalise on the fact that we are at home and hopefully we can get a real positive performance,” added McConkey.

The Mallards have a number of injury concerns ahead of the game with Ryan Morris added to the list having picked up a knock against Ballyclare. However, the Ducks boss should have a stronger hand with others set to return.

“We will regroup on Thursday night and see how we are. The two Byrnes are back from holiday, Josh McIlwaine and John Edgar will be back also. We will get the Cup game against Newbuildings out of the way first on Tuesday night and then we will look at Bangor on Thursday.”

McConkey admits that the two recent losses have been tough to take but he accepts that his side have to do better in both boxes.

‘Soul destroying’

“I felt the last two weeks have been soul-destroying to not get anything out of those games but we also have to be realistic enough to know that we have to be more clinical in the box in terms of our finishing from set plays and our deliveries from set plays and at the same time we must defend much more resolutely at the back,” he added.

With young players getting their chance in the side mistakes can be expected and McConkey acknowledges that it is part of the learning for those players.

“It is a learning process for these young players and how will they learn if you don’t expose them to it and also help them through their mistakes.

“They have to learn to respond when they make them in the moment in a game and react to them quickly and the next time they make up for that having learnt how painful it can be.

‘Valuable lessons’

“We have to swallow that sometimes and it is tough but also a valuable lesson but we have seen that over the years through the young people we have put through the club and gone to greater things; they have had some very tough days in doing that and that’s all part of the game and part of sport,” he stated.

The Mallards went into those two games sitting second in the table and McConkey had hoped to push on from there but knows that you have to take the rough with the smooth and the focus is now on trying to get the win on Saturday.

“From the manager’s view it is a very poor level of performance in the sense that we have got no points out of six but from a coach perspective and breaking down the game and the positives that are within that then it is not as gloomy. But I have to wear both hats sometimes so you have to keep yourself at a level where you don’t get too high with the highs and too low with the lows.

“We are disappointed because we wanted to build and get some momentum after a couple of great wins at home and we now need to get back to that,” he said